Paris Agreement: after climbing a great hill, many more to climb

Late on Saturday 12 December, a new Climate Agreement was adopted in Paris. Here is my take on the key elements. Be warned, it is a longish read – but then climate is a complex, super-wicked problem. And solving it is not easy. The key points are in bold … As Nelson Mandela said on his long walk to freedom: “I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to… Read moreParis Agreement: after climbing a great hill, many more to climb

Geneva was quick – but how deep will Paris go?

Climate negotiators almost pride themselves on talks going beyond the deadline. So when the most recent round finished its main task, to agree elements of a draft negotiating text, on Day 3 of six, there was confusion. In a mild panic attack, the collective unconscious said “What do we do now?” Various reasons may have contributed to fast work. The new Co-Chairs (from the US and Algeria) cracked the whip, with a refreshingly business-like style. The G77& China, chaired this… Read moreGeneva was quick – but how deep will Paris go?

Doha: Vague words & fuzzy numbers

The 2012 climate negotiations under the UNFCCC and its Kyoto Protocol did not quite die in the desert sands of Doha.  But they hardly took the big steps forward that are urgently needed. This kind of reflection, of incremental progress in political terms, but falling far short of what is needed, has now been the my sense for several years running. Also similar to past meetings, COP18 and CMP8 ran over time, as did Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban.  The heart… Read moreDoha: Vague words & fuzzy numbers

Responsibility for past and future emissions

Wei et al (2012) use two earth-system models, one in from US national lab NCAR and another – derived from it in part, from Beijing Normal University. First, they run scenarios for historical emissions, and find developing countries contributed 20-40%. Looking at responsibility for historical emissions , they find “ that developed countries had contributed about 60–80%, developing countries about 20–40%, to the global temperature rise, upper ocean warming,and sea-ice reduction by 2005.” Secondly, they construct scenarios of future emissions… Read moreResponsibility for past and future emissions